Virgin Australia launches WiFi on Los Angeles flights

by James Wilkinson

Virgin Australia’s international inflight WiFi is now officially live after a successful testing phase, with passengers on the airline’s flights to Los Angeles now able to stay online inflight.

The introduction of inflight WiFi on all Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will bring relief to millions of Australians suffering a ‘condition’ referred to as ‘net-lag’. The term refers to the inability to stay connected on flights, leading to feelings of stress and FOMO (fear of missing out).

New research commissioned by Virgin Australia revealed 70 per cent of Aussies confessed to having experienced ‘net-lag’ during a flight and feeling frustrated because they couldn’t access the internet. Additionally, over 65 per cent admitted to feeling overwhelmed catching up on emails, messages and other unread notifications once they landed.

Aussies indicated the ways they would use inflight wi-fi if it were available on international flights including:
-Social Media to check Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (23.8 per cent);
-Stream movies or TV shows (21.3 per cent);
-Personal email and web browsing (16.5 per cent);
-Read the news (15.6 per cent);
-Instant message friends and family (14.6 per cent); and
-Business/work email and web browsing (8.3 per cent)

Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive, Rob Sharp, said: “Most of us use our phones on a daily – if not hourly basis – meaning it can be incredibly disruptive to have extended periods of time when you can’t connect with friends, family, colleagues, or what’s going on in the world. We’re proud to be the leader in providing Australians with greater inflight connectivity on international flights.”

The research also found 71.3 per cent of people felt their time on a long-haul flight would be more productive with WiFi, and more than three-quarters would perceive their flight to be more enjoyable if they could stay connected.

Dr Andrew Campbell, Cyberpsychologist at The University of Sydney said: “We know that the inability to keep up-to-date with the online world and stay in touch with friends is a real fear that’s only grown since the introduction of smartphones. Like it or not, staying connected has become an essential part of life for most of us and certainly seems to be where we’re headed as a society.”

Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines has also become the only Trans-Pacific alliance to consistently offer inflight WiFi across all alliance aircraft, allowing guests to stay connected when travelling with either airline.

Additionally, inflight WiFi is now available on 12 Virgin Australia Boeing 737 aircraft with 75% of the fleet to be complete by the end of the year and inflight WiFi will be fitted on Virgin Australia A330-200 aircraft in early 2019.